Not only is smoked pork loin a great choice in terms of flavor, it is also lean and healthy right up there with the white meat of chicken and I know that is something a lot of people will appreciate.

The thyme, rosemary, garlic herb rub I made for this is also a big part of the recipe so don't skip it!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 to 4 hours (can vary based on thickness and whether you tie it up or not)
  • Smoker Temp: 225-240°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 145°F (do not exceed this temperature)
  • Recommended Wood: Cherry and apple mix (or any fruitwood)
What You'll Need
  • Half pork loin (Buy the whole loin and cut it in half or just buy a half if it's available. If you need more meat, cook both halves and double the recipe on the herb rub) Very little shrinkage so about ½ lb per person
  • Olive oil (extra virgin is best)
  • Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub)
  • Jeff's Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub)
  • Herb rub (recipe below)
  • Cooking twine
IMG 0244Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Make the Herb Rub

Below are the general amounts needed to make this herb rub. Note: if you must use previously chopped or dried herbs, it will end up being around 2-3 TBS of thyme and 1 tsp of rosemary to give you an idea of the ratio. Rosemary is very strong and only a little is needed in comparison to the thyme.


  • About a cup of fresh thyme sprigs (hard to measure things like this.. just a good handful)
  • 1-½ sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub)
  • ½ cup of olive oil (you may opt to use more if it's not liquid enough)


Place all ingredients into a food processor or you can chop herbs and garlic by hand and mix with the oil and rub until well combined.

Garlic cloves did not make it into the picture.. they were shy 😉

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Prepare Meat for Seasoning

Remove as much of the fat from the outside of the meat as possible including the silver skin with a sharp knife.

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I like to cut off the tapered end to square it up (if applicable)

You don't have to but it does make it look nicer in my opinion.

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Make diagonal cuts on all sides about ¼ inch deep to give the rub and herbs extra surface area to stick to.

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The pork loin is now ready for the seasoning process.

Season the Pork Loin

Brush on some olive oil to help the rub to stick.

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Apply a good coat of the Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) all over the pork loin (top, bottom, sides and ends)

You can also use the original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) if you prefer or if that's all you have.

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Apply the Herb Rub

Place about half of the herb rub on the top side of the pork loin and rub it all over the top and sides of the meat.

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Flip the pork loin over and put the other half of the herb rub on the bottom side and more on the sides and ends wherever needed.

Refrigerator Time

Place the rubbed pork loin into a bowl with a lid.


Put the bowl with the pork loin into the fridge for about 4-6 hours or overnight is even better.

A few minutes before you are ready to smoke the meat, take the pork loin out of the fridge and place it on a pan with a rack to make it easy to transport out to the smoker.

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Tying it up

Tying up the pork loin is a very good idea in that it makes the pork loin round instead of oblong and this will help it to cook more evenly. It also makes the roast look better in my opinion.

I simply cut 7-8 strings and tied a basic knot on each one.

I recommend tying a string around the meat about every inch or so all the way along the pork loin half.

If you look closely at the picture below, you can see how I did it.

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Getting the Smoker Ready

I used a mix of apple and cherry for smoke and you can use any smoker known to man or even a grill as long as you can maintain around 225°F for about 3-4 hours and provide some smoke to the heated environment.

Get the smoker preheated to 225°F and once it is holding steady, you are ready to smoke.

Smoking the Pork Loin

Place the pork loin directly on the grate or use a Bradley rack.

Let it smoke cook for about 3.5 – 4 hours or until it reaches 145°F in the center of the meat using a durable, high-quality digital probe meat thermometer such as the ThermoWorks Smoke. When it reaches 145°F, remove it immediately from the heat, it is done.

If you have a water pan in your smoker, be sure to use it. It does a lot of good things for the smoking environment and should be used whenever possible.

I recommend adding smoke for at least 2 hours but it also completely fine and even recommended to add well-vented, light smoke for the entire time it is cooking. I do this most of the time and I love the well pronounced smoke flavors that I get in my charcoal, electric, and gas smokers by using this method.

Just a note: If you are using a pellet smoker, (I really enjoy using my Camp Chef Woodwind for this recipe!), consider using the “Lo Smoke” setting for about an hour before turning the knob to “Hi Smoke” or “225” if you prefer. Pellet smokers produce more smoke at lower temperatures and your best flavor will come from running it as low as possible for an hour or so before turning it up a bit. Cooking it low at first may add an extra half hour or so to this recipe but it's worth it.

Slice and Serve

The pork loin will cool down quickly so with it only being 145°F in the center when it is finished, let it rest for 3-5 minutes then remove the cooking twine if you tied it up. Slice into ½ inch slices and serve immediately.

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Do you see how moist that is?

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Sliced and served up.. let's eat!!

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Special Notes

If You Don't Need a Whole Pork Loin

If you don't need a whole pork loin right now, buy a whole one and simply cut it half. Freeze one half and cook the other.

Watch the Temperature of the Pork Loin

If you don't remember anything else, remember this: the most important thing you can do to make sure that this pork loin comes out juicy and tender is to use a trusted, tested meat thermometer and when it reaches 145°F in the center, it is done. Remove it from the smoker immediately.

In years past, we were taught to cook pork to a much higher temperature and this resulted in something that just wasn't as palatable as it could have been. The USDA has now informed us that 145°F is completely safe for pork and it has been music to my ears and my stomach ever since.

Smoker Temperature

Maintain as close to 225°F in your smoker as possible and DON'T trust that factory thermometer.. it is most likely not accurate.

If you have a digital probe meat thermometer, (you should try your best to get one if you don't), push the probe through a potato horizontally and lay the potato on the grate right next to the pork loin or whatever meat you are cooking. This will give you an accurate reading of what the meat is experiencing. Some thermometers come with a clip that holds it just above the grate.. these are very handy as well.

Note: The potato is just a device to hold the thermometer probe up off the grate but you can eat the potato when you are finished if you want to.

I recommend the “Smoke” by Thermoworks for a “leave-in-the-smoker” thermometer and the Thermapen for checking the temperature of the meat on the spot (it reads in about 2 seconds and I never cook without it anymore.

Yep.. He Said it!

Even if you DON'T have a smoker YET, this entire method will work great in the home oven using the same preparation and temperature recommendations. Having said that, this recipe is SO much better done with smoke and that is a fact.

You owe it to yourself to get a smoker, even if it is a cheap one or a second hand one found at a yard sale and learn how to use it.

You will soon find yourself using the oven less and less.

Why is the Meat Pink?

If you cook the pork correctly and call it done at 145°F in the center, it will probably be a little pink as you can see in the pictures above.

For this reason, you may have folks ask you why the meat is pink and, if they are really out of touch with reality, they may even insinuate that the meat is not properly done.

All you can do is try to educate them and hope they accept the facts as they are today and not as they were in yesteryears.

Perfectly done whole (unground) pork will be a little pink and should be juicy, tender and tasty. If it's dry and tastes like a hockey puck, it's most likely overcooked.

Order Jeff’s Rubs and Barbecue Sauce TODAY!
Jeff's Rubs and Sauce

✅ If you haven’t ordered my rubs or sauce yet you can do that HERE. They are the best thing you’ve ever tasted and it’s a great way to support what we do!

We ship blazingly fast and orders over $50 ship free!

Check them out! | Read the reviews


You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.

Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition


Smoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Printable Recipe

herb rubbed smoked pork loin3
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Herb Rubbed Smoked Pork Loin

I created this recipe especially for Mother’s day but it would also be good on any other special occasion or perhaps on an ordinary day when it’s just a family dinner get together. Whatever the reason, this recipe will fit the bill.
Prep Time10 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Servings: 6 -8


  • 1 whole Pork loin (((Buy the whole loin and cut it in half or just buy a half if it’s available. If you need more meat, cook both halves and double the recipe on the herb rub) Very little shrinkage so about ½ lb per person Olive oil (extra virgin is best) Jeff’s rub recipe Herb rub (recipe below) Cooking twine))
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil ((extra virgin))
  • 2 TBSP Jeff's original rub
  • Herb rub ((recipe below))
  • Cooking twine ((For tying up the pork loin))


Make the Herb Rub

  • Add the following ingredients to a food processor and mix until well combined: About a cup of fresh thyme sprigs, 1-½ sprigs of fresh rosemary, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 heaping tablespoons of Jeff's original rub, ½ cup of olive oil.

Prepare the Meat

  • Trim off all exterior fat.
  • Make diagonal cuts into the meat about ¼ inch deep and about 1 inch apart all over the meat.
  • Add a good sprinkling of Jeff's rub all over the meat and work it in good.
  • Add half of the herb rub to the top of the pork loin and work it into the top and sides of the meat.
  • Flip the meat over and apply the other half of the herb rub.
  • Place the loin in a lidded container and place in the fridge overnight.
  • About 30 minutes before ready to smoke, remove meat from fridge and tie it up using kitchen twine to make it nice and round instead of oblong.

Smoke the Pork Loin

  • Preheat smoker to 225°F.
  • Place the pork loin directly on the grate and let it cook for 3-4 hours or until it reaches 145°F n the center of the roast.
  • Remove from the smoker and carve into ½ inch slices.
  • Serve immediately.